[at-l] Feedback Please!

Black Wolfe blackwolfe at charter.net
Fri Jan 15 09:48:13 CST 2010

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Cody Girl 

  Hi everyone.  I know many of you are off to the So Ruck, but for all who are available, I sure would appreciate your opinion here. I've been out in the woods for a couple of days, testing  gear  for the upcoming hike, testing myself, etc.  A few questions.

  1.  Campsite selection:  It's around 20 degrees.  Given a choice of mountain top or a little cove near a stream, which site do you choose and why?  Weather is clear with little wind.  

  2.  My gear wasn't quite down with the temps.  At 20 degrees, with two pairs of wool socks, in the bag, full length thermarest, feet propped up on my pack, with my coat over the bag, my feet were so cold they just hurt.  Any additional tips on keeping feet warm in cold weather camp, short of carrying a beefier bag? (I was using a 30 degree bag with a 10 degree liner, so I was pushing the limit of the gear)  I accept the fact that some nights are just gonna be cold, but I was sure hoping I would be warmer at 20 degrees.  

  3.  I managed to hang my foodbag, but was wondering if anyone could point me to the "right way" to hang a food bag, or a you tube or anything like?  The one direction I have involves two bags used as counterweight, with no tying off to a tree and using a stick or trek pole to pull it down the next morning.  This seems complicated and I didn't follow it.   Also, in hanging the food bag, is the objective to keep it away from bears only?  or all critters?  seems like a mouse, etc, could get to it if they wanted to, regardless.  My few solo backpacks to date have been in the Smokies with cables at all the campsites so I've never had to address this one on my own before. 

  4.  I busted a tent stake, not sure if because I was trying to pound it into a root, a rock, or plain old frozen dirt, but bust it I did.  A rock worked fine to anchor the line, but I wouldn't want to have more than one point under a rock.  Do you carry an extra stake or two on long distance hikes?

  That's about it.  I had a great time, cold feet and all!  This was my coldest night ever out on the woods, at this temp no one was stirring.  It was absolute stillness.  There was snow on the ground too and ice on the stream banks, quite beautiful.     



  1: Cold air flows down hill.  You want a pocket that is out of that flow and not at the base of that flow.  Often that means somewhere below the top of the mountain in a sheltered spot.


  2: Fleece HAT.  And do not let anything compress your sleeping bag.  Also some candy or high energy food might help too.  My experience is that gear rated for 0 degrees is good for me for sleeping to 20 degrees.  Generally I consider the rated temperature as a survival rating not a true comfort rating.


  3: The counterbalance system is one of the best, once you learn the system.


  4: An advantage of cheap aluminum stakes is that they bend before they break.  If you need to go cheap, check out rain gutter nails at the building supply store.


  Black Wolfe

  Bruce W.
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